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Apple Rejoins EPEAT Following Consumer Outcry

Little more than a week after news spread about Apple withdrawing from the EPEAT environmental ratings for electronics, the computer company reversed course on Friday, stating the decision was a mistake.

EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) is a global registry for electronics that provides information to purchasers, manufacturers and resellers about environmentally preferable products. Numerous government agencies and schools use the EPEAT certification system to guide purchasing decisions.

At the end of June, Apple asked EPEAT to remove all of its products from the registry. This came as a surprise to many, especially considering Apple helped to create EPEAT. 

Apple said its “design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements.” Reports were quick to point out that the latest version of Apple’s MacBook Pro laptop contains a Retina display and battery that are glued to the case, making it difficult to disassemble and recycle—and making it a poor performer in EPEAT’s certification system.

The City of San Francisco, which mandates the purchasing of gold-rated EPEAT products, announced last week that it would ban Apple products, and other organizations were apparently following suit.

EPEAT Chief Executive Robert Frisbee told Reuters that customers contacting Apple directly played a "critical part" in getting the company back onto the registry.

Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of hardware at Apple, published a letter on the company website Friday noting the customer response. "We've recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system," Mansfield wrote. "I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT."

Apple has faced criticism over the years concerning the environmental impact of its design choices. However, it has received praise for committing to powering its newest data center with 100 percent renewable energy.

Bart King is a PR/marketing communications consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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